Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Days of Sun and Cloud

December proved to be a good month for cycling: the warmer days often overcast, but the colder days crisply sunny. On one of the overcast rides to work, I stopped to snap this lovely view of the Potomac from Memorial Bridge.

X-Mas morning dawned mild, and with no little children at home I was free to take a lovely ride along the Four-Mile Run trail, which is scenic and moderately hilly. Shorts and a hoodie were all the protection I needed. In the aftermath of heavy rains, the bridge preceding the steepest hill was overrun by inches of water, so I gladly diverted to the W&OD trail. I looped around the deserted shops at Shirlington, seeing only a disappointed couple rattling the locked doors of Caribou Coffee. I was glad I had my ride before a day of driving: first to Frederick for Jewish X-Mas (yup – Chinese food and a movie) with my child; and then, in the dark, to Philly to spend the weekend with the Cycling Yogi.

Most of our days were spent walking my dogs in the Wisahickon Park – a glorious off-leash adventure for my aging-but-still-intrepid Westies. The only blot on our enjoyment of the park was an encounter with an imperious equestrienne who insisted that all dogs be leashed at all times (although many people allow their dogs off leash in the park, except for on the wide carriage trails that are used by runners and cyclists). Even as I hastened to get the little fellows on their leashes so she could pass without trampling them, she growled at me: “You better hurry up!” Her demeanor was reminiscent of the Wicked Witch of the West: “I’ll get you my pretty…and your little dog too!”

Despite a rainy forecast for Sunday, the weather cleared up by 7 a.m. – so we headed for Valley Forge. The Cycling Yogi biked the entire 34 miles. I drove the first (and last) 7 miles and then biked the 20-mile round-trip flat section of the Schuylkill River Trail. The Cycling Yogi’s such a stud…he arrived at our rendezvous spot on bike just minutes after I got there by car (and on the way home – he beat me back!) The temperature in the low 50s was just right; we stopped at Valley Forge Park for a snack, and headed home with just the barest few sprinkles of rain upon us.


I figured I would close out 2014 with a New Year’s Eve day bike commute to work. Despite the sub-freezing temperatures, I managed to work up a sweat. I don’t know if it was the colder temperature or the lighter-than-usual traffic, but I shaved 5 minutes off my normal commute time. Got home to find my "coffeeneuring" patch in the mail and am contemplating where to place it on my bike trailer.

Looking forward to another fine cycling year ahead…happy new year!